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  1. #21
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    It depends. If the horse stays that way, not my favorite. But I have had a number of horses who did not want to jump at first who soon learned to love it with a consistent ride and a lot of praise for effort. They turned into perfectly lovely, game horses. Some were just green, some started badly over fences by people who didn't have "forward" and "straight" installed first, which is asking for trouble.


    I have seen a couple who just never wanted to jump, and they belong in different jobs.


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  2. #22
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    I had the not so bold type. We won three events and were 4th at the area championships finishing on our dressage scores in the mid 20's....but he would suck back and break to a trot in front of the fences. This was at novice. It wasn't a fun ride at all so he's now the absolute perfect dressage schoolmaster for my mom. I went to Ireland and got a young horse who I swear came out of the womb loving to jump!! Needless to say, our dressage scores are not in the 20's though


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  3. #23
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    My feeling is this: You can always school a horse to the leg. Actually anyone who can hold a crop can school a horse to the leg.( I am reminded of the para Olympians who ride with NO legs and just whips to steer and ride at the upper levels.) Horses can be trained to go forward in many ways, there are many roads to Rome -- it's a matter of the amount of time a rider would like to put in schooling a horse to the job it is to do.
    Horses that are nappy are another thing entirely; I am thinking of a horse that is as you describe, just not naturally forward at first, or quite as brave as you would like. A deliberate horse is still just as good, you just have to find its "smart button" in the process of training, I think.
    While this may be more or less true (the schooling them to go forward and to do their job part), I think a better horseman is one who reads a horse well and realizes that the job that is intended for the horse is not a job the horse will be happy in. Just because you can make a horse obedient to your leg and broke that they will jump despite not liking to jump (whether jumping in general or just xc), does not mean you are being a good horseman.

    There is a difference between a spooky, green, unsure baby, a horse that is naturally cautious, and a horse that is not cut out for the job. Most decent riders/trainers will eventually be able to figure out what category a horse goes into, either by trial and error or just a natural ability to grasp what a horse is telling you. The two horses I described in my early post were naturally cautious, but they enjoyed the job and just needed a rider who was not nervous and who had the ability to support them if they needed a second. I have ridden the "I HATE THIS" type horse....it gives you a distinctly different feel (and I've ridden both the stop at everything types, and the run at everything to get this over with types).



  4. #24
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    I largely agree with all of you. I think there's a big difference between a horse that is green and unsure vs. a horse that will just never figure it out.

    That being said, while it's fun to hop on the very-bold types that will drag you to the fence, I think my preference lies somewhere in the middle. I don't want a push-button horse who will allow me to just sit there and get carried around, but I also don't want to be kicking and screaming (well, not really...) to every fence.

    Happy mediums are a beautiful thing!



  5. #25
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    Agreed with above; I had a gelding that was exceedingly catty over fences but was very cautious. Had he no enthusiasm for the sport he would have been given a different job. He was not a ride for the timid. He was the type who you had to convince to go over the fence, but was ALWAYS looking for the next fence.

    The discerning horsewoman is intuitive enough to realize when a job is suitable and when it is not-- I have seen MANY horses who hated their jobs campaigning a high level simply because they don't have a "no" option -- which says a lot about their character.

    I like a medium too - while I don't want to be coercing my partner to campaign with me, I also don't want to ride a holy terror -- I'm happy with the cautious, catty ones! Ime they seem to have the best xc rides because they always seem to be waiting for your feedback before going - I like the mildly insecure ones that look to you for advice!
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012



  6. #26
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    Totally depends. I'm a fan of naturally forward. I prefer fwd thinking horses although in my experience, that has a lot to do with how they are handled and ridden. But the brave to the fences is different. Some of the best jumpers and event horses that I've known and ridden were not initially brave. When I have a green horse, like I do now, who is SUPER brave from the beginning, I worry whether they will be careful enough. If they are a bit more unsure...I can typcally work with that and get them confident and brave....but it is much harder to teach a horse to be careful.

    I do not like to be dragged to the fences (leaving strides out etc)...but I do like a bold horse that is careful. I just think that those horses are created through good training....so if they are green, I will work with them but if it becomes clear that they really do not want to play the game, then I would find them a different job.


    But what is really nice to ride is a horse who is generous and honest. One who doesn't hold a grudge if you make a mistake. I don't need one that will keep going no matter if I make a ton of mistakes....but I do like them brave enough that once you are through the green horse stuff, and have them confident, they will save your a$$ when you screw up once in a while (rather than take advantage of you).
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 18, 2013 at 02:15 PM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  7. #27
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    Sadly, I think the answer is no. I watched my best friend struggle to event a timid horse for several years and it was hard for both horse and rider. The horse clearly did not enjoy the sport, but my friend kept hoping that it was a greenness issue that could be worked through. She did everything to build the horse's confidence, but at the end of the day the horse was always going to be unpredictable. She did not really love her job, so she was always on the lookout for any excuse to not do it. Unless my friend put in a perfect ride (and who can give a perfect ride 100% of the time?), the horse wanted to escape the work. She was not a lazy, mean mare, she just didn't enjoy jumping. Eventually, my friend got a new horse (who is cautious, but does not actively dislike jumping) and is having a much more positive experience (as is the mare in her new home...flat work only). Not every person is cut out for every job, just as not every horse is suited for every job.



  8. #28
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    we have a mare that was very sticky/not forward to fences, even little crossrails and verticals for several months working her....kept at it, even though she had lots of refusals and runouts...one day I was on her, pointed her at a fence, and felt something "CLICK" - and suddenly she had it figured out, she WANTED to jump, she had it figured out. She hasn't refused or run out since then, has turned into a lovely little hunter and is even starting to figure out her lead changes over fences and can do a whole course!! I've quite fallen in love with her.



  9. #29
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    I'm all for a middle of the road horse as well! I've ridden all three types and I don't think I could go back to the "hold on we're going for it!" 50 feet out horses or the "hell no! You jump it alone unless you ride the s#%t out of me and really force me" types again. My 4 year old loves loves LOVES to jump but never gets strong. She just keeps at the pace we're at, jumps and continues at that pace. Perfect for this ammy! She's very green over fences but I already feel more safe jumping her then any higher trained horse I've ever owned or ridden. She actually took me over a jump without my consent the 3rd time I had backed her last year! LOL She went to her first event this summer with only 5 months under saddle. She was a rock star. We trotted the fences and I'd let her stop and investigate but she never once said "no!" She just said "mom! What us that?! Should I jump it?! OK!" Our next show at a different venue 2 weeks she was yawning over the 2' courses. Totally and completely unphased and unimpressed. That's my kind of ride! :-). We may have had the slowest rides there at our leisurely trot but she came in 3rd out of 8 and got reserve champion in our area! Slow and steady wins the race! LOL
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."



  10. #30
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    I went to a clinic last month and rode a horse over fences (small fences) that I had never met before. Currently horseless, I had wanted to participate in the clinic and beggars can't be particular. I got an email saying you will be riding "X" he is a TB and likes to jump.

    During warm up I cantered a right circle and thought that the horse was possibly the stiffest most unbalanced thing that I had ever put a leg over. Clinician said she knew this and not to worry. I thought maybe because he was ancient but I found out after the fact that he was only 7.

    Over the first gymnastic my face broke out into a huge a grin. When they love to jump you can just feel it. If I steered him in the vicinity of the fence you could feel his brain go, "Oh that one, cool". He didn't drag or pull, but was definitely "going over" and even though he was not the most balanced was able to take the lines in different numbers of strides.

    The point of the whole long ramble is that I was relaxed and had fun and thought he was "easy-peasy". When you take the "are they going over" factor out of the equation it changes the entire ride, particularly for an ammy (and even more so if you are middle-aged!)


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  11. #31
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    OK not to slightly derail the intent of this thread but two pages worth of people saying that they prefer horses that are brave and forward made me wonder.

    Are we losing out on valuable learning lessons by choosing the "less difficult" mounts out there?

    In my own past I would say none of my horses I rode during my formative years were "easy." Sure some were naturally forward, but the ones who weren't taught me much more.

    As of right now I would say that if we're talking about what you buy for yourself, and you only have 1 horse, sure you're going to pick the ones who give you a great feel. But if we're discussing folks who ride more than 1, re-sell horses or in general ride more than 2 a day, it becomes imperative to ride more types so your skills are developed for all the various kinds of horses you'll run across.

    So looking back over the answers here, do those of you who choose the steady eddy types believe that your ability to learn and rise up the levels are helped most by a solid and dependable ride? I ask because I can think of quite a few of the "big Names" in the sport who ascended to their current position by having to ride some less than ideal horses and by doing so upped their skills for their subsequent 'better' horses by having ridden the tougher ones.



    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


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  12. #32
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    I think there is a difference between a challenging horse that you have to work for a great ride on some (Reilly and Zeke, the two I have mentioned, required a ride that made you work to get that great ride), and a horse that just does not want to do the job. As I said before, I think it takes a good horseman to realize when a horse isn't just green and spooky or a little cautious, but just does not want to do the job. And then the HORSEMAN'S job is to find the job that suites the horse. I think it is all part of learning to be a better rider and horseperson.

    All that being said, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting to ride a horse that is fun. Not everyone wants to become someone who can get on any horse and get a tune out of it. Some people just want to get on THEIR horse (or two) and go have fun. They don't want to worry about stops, or whether today is the day they get eliminated at the first fence on xc, or if they'll have 2 stops at the simplest fence on course, etc, etc, etc. I think that's fair and right and smart. The more ammies I see who struggle with inappropriate horses, the more I respect the ones who go "Nope. This one's not for me" or "Nope. Eventing isn't for this one, let's do something else" and move on with life. Life is too short to ride a horse that makes you miserable. And I don't think admitting that makes anyone a bad rider. Just a smart rider.



  13. #33
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    Emily--I don't think picking a forward and brave horse neccessarily means they are easy.

    My current OTTB mare is NOT easy in any way but she is brave and she is forward. But lord help you if you can not stay in the middle of her, ride with finesse and stay out of her way. I personally do NOT like to ride the kick and pull sort of horses. I like them on the hot and sensitive side...and wouldn't consider any of them a steady eddy type.

    That is a different sort of horse all together. Also, what someone prefers to ride and own doesn't mean they can't or don't ride other types. I know what type of horse I prefer. The ones I tend to have a better connection with and partnership with....so that is the type of horse that I seek out and put my money into. EVEN pros do this. Yes, they will ride what ever pays the bills...but they will seek out "their" type of horse if given the option. Doesn't make them less of a rider.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM. Reason: typo
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  14. #34
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    That is a different sort of horse all together. Also, what someone prefers to ride and own doesn't mean they can't or don't ride other types. I know what type of horse I prefer. The ones I tend to have a better connection with and partnership with....so that is the type of horse that I seek out and put my money into. EVEN pros do this. Yes, they will ride what ever pays the bills...but they will seek out "their" type of horse if given the option. Doesn't make them less of a rider.
    This. A lot.

    I can ride all sorts of horses and have, and, occasionally I do it pretty well. But I definitely have a preference (small, quick, catty, sensitive types with monstrous personality ). I also have a preference for types of dogs, guys, friends, movies, food.....I think that's called being human.



  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xctrygirl View Post
    OK not to slightly derail the intent of this thread but two pages worth of people saying that they prefer horses that are brave and forward made me wonder.

    Are we losing out on valuable learning lessons by choosing the "less difficult" mounts out there?

    In my own past I would say none of my horses I rode during my formative years were "easy." Sure some were naturally forward, but the ones who weren't taught me much more.

    As of right now I would say that if we're talking about what you buy for yourself, and you only have 1 horse, sure you're going to pick the ones who give you a great feel. But if we're discussing folks who ride more than 1, re-sell horses or in general ride more than 2 a day, it becomes imperative to ride more types so your skills are developed for all the various kinds of horses you'll run across.

    So looking back over the answers here, do those of you who choose the steady eddy types believe that your ability to learn and rise up the levels are helped most by a solid and dependable ride? I ask because I can think of quite a few of the "big Names" in the sport who ascended to their current position by having to ride some less than ideal horses and by doing so upped their skills for their subsequent 'better' horses by having ridden the tougher ones.



    ~Emily
    I've often wondered this as well. Having a brave horse in our sport is obviously a much safer option, but is it also an easier one as well?

    I remember, as a kid, a good friend of mine had one of those push-button jumper mares, while I struggled with my "squirmy wormy" gelding who I had a hard time getting over anything. This friend of mine always won every jumper division she entered, etc. etc. and I remember being so envious of her... blaming her success on the fact that she had an easy horse to jump.

    I digress, but I think there is really something to be said about the "easiness" of your mount playing a huge role in your success in the sport. We've all heard that riding difficult horses makes us better riders, but do you think you would be much further along than you are now if you had had a push-button horse that would carry you through the levels?

    It's definitely something to think about...
    Last edited by dappled; Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM.



  16. #36
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    dappled, this gets us on a whole other topic, but I have often wondered about the YRs that have a great YR horse that takes them through the YR levels and onto their first advanced, 3 stars, etc, often with a good amount of succes. It sometimes seems to take them a few years to get really going again at the ULs once that first good horse retires, and I often wonder if it's because they missed the education of riding the greenbeans, the cautious horses, the trouble horses, and the like.

    That being said, I know I'd probably be a lot "further along" if I'd had less quirky rides and more horses that just put their heads down in the dressage, kept the rails up in sj, and jumped around for me on xc. However, I've learned SO MUCH from the myriad of quirky, tough, naughty, scared, green, etc horses in my life, and I wouldn't trade that education for anything.



  17. #37
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    Going against the grain (dangerous since I'm an eventing newbie and haven't done my first HT yet!). Although I guess this is for the happy medium, just leaning toward chicken than brave.

    I believe I read something from Jimmy Wofford one time that said the best horse is always a little bit chicken (it was in PH and now I can't find it anywhere so maybe I dreamed it).

    I agree with this statement (whoever said it!). I am a former showjumper and I have ridden stupidly brave horses. Those were the horses that had TOO much confidence, would take a stupid spot, and would almost always get you into trouble. They think they can jump anything from anywhere, and that's a dangerous horse imo.

    I like horses that are a little bit chicken. They think more, they are a little too scared to go on auto-pilot and they think about where their feet should go (but they will get you out of a jam because they think on their feet).

    Yes, sometimes they will suck back and ask "are you sure?" and if you say "no," they say "you're right!" but if you say "yes," they say, "yes, ma'am!"

    These horses have confidence derived from their riders and enough scarediness to help them get out of tricky situations.

    My tb is like this. I love, love, love it. She's naturally forward and brave to whatever fence. But put her on a line or a chute and ask her to jump it herself, and she'll politely decline (never did get any nice free jumping shots of her). She goes because she knows I'm confident and trusts me. Because she's slightly chicken, she picks up her feet and usually takes a nice spot and always gets out of whatever jam I've put her in. In bad spots, I've been able to trust her and let go and say, "all yours."

    I was riding an appendix some years ago and he would constantly get us into bad situations ... over 18" jumps. He was too brave. I told his owner I would no longer be jumping him and that if she wanted him jumping, to let a real trainer work with him. I'm sure he would have been a fine jumper after he'd been made to realize he's not invincible, but he's the type of horse that would have a rotational.

    Maybe after my first HT in May, I'll change my mind. But I have full confidence in us as a pair and really feel that she's the best horse for me in dressage, XC and stadium. And, yes, she's exactly what I would have picked for showjumping personality wise, so perhaps I've made an error and just like this type of horse.
    Last edited by AzuWish; Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:38 AM. Reason: forgot a word


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  18. #38
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    "A little bit chicken" makes them careful, smart, and aware of where their feet are. I don't know if calling them chicken is fair or accurate, really, they just have a good sense of self preservation, which is a very nice thing to have in a good xc horse.

    THAT kind of horse, though, is far different to the ones who have to beat, kick, cajole, and drive around a course.



  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by merrygoround View Post
    It can get pretty darn tiring to have to "carry" the horse to every fence, as opposed to the type who only wants to gallop so they can get to the next fence.

    So no, I wouldn't bother.
    It's friggin exhausting. Why I took up foxhunting and dropped my eventing dreams.

    Love, love, love my horse, but she would rather not jump a fence, I'm afraid. If she's galloping in a group and jumps are in the way, no problem. Pretty big ones too.....but jump a fence just for the sake of it? Hells no.

    I wish I didn't love her so much.....I'd really rather be eventing.....(frowny face)

    To answer the OP's question......if you can help it, don't bother with this type of horse for eventing. Not worth the aggravation.



  20. #40
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    My former intermediate horse and my current (about to go training) horse are both "careful" absolutely not "chicken" as they are both very brave, but also both need to understand the question before they will jump. They will sometimes stop to take a look or slow down approaching the fence to assess, but then always jump, not only the second time, but everytime they see that type of question again. My first year at Preliminary with Gizmo, we got E'd several times when his response was, "I've never seen anything that looks like this before and I don't feel safe jumping it" We would go home, school something similar and never have an issue again. After about a year, he had seen everything and evented for another 8 years through intermediate without any stops. As an ammy who can miss pretty badly, I like the horses with enough self-preservation that they will only jump if they know they can do it.

    The really chicken ones (and I've only had 2) - one is being sold as a h/j and one is a dressage horse
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



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